Dallas Is Building a 5 Acre "Deck Park" Over a Freeway

The Park Dallas/Video screen capture

We've seen some wild parks popping up in cities around the world these past few years: New York opened the High Line and may build a park underground; Mexico City is working on its own elevated park; Chicago is planning an urban park 10 times the size of Manhattan. Now Dallas is getting in the game, with a 5.2 acre "deck park," built over an active freeway.

The Park Dallas/Video screen capture

Construction of Klyde Warren Park (named for the son of donor Kelcy Warren) began in 2009; in 2010, the first beams were laid across the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, the beginning of what would become the "deck." The deck, really a bridge, is made from concrete (not our favorite material, but at least it's for urban green space).

Good Idea, Bad Location?

The park, set to open on October 27, packs a lot into five acres: a promenade, a children's garden, a dog run, a botanical garden, an arts boulevard, various plazas and pavilions, an "Icon Fountain," and a Great Lawn, designed to hold 3,000 people. According to the Klyde Warren Park Web site, the location is meant to connect Dallas residents:

Connectivity is central to The Park's purpose. The Park will promote increased pedestrian, trolley and bicycle use between Uptown, Downtown and the Arts District, contributing to a more walkable city center.

Yet Patrick Kennedy of the blog Walkable DFW argued in Pegasus News that while the park is admirably "designed for people" and "wonderfully clever structurally," it's in a lousy location:

There is no street life because of the suburban road dimensions. How are the new towers in this area supposed to hold value in urban sites without any urbanism? You tell me. I'm glad I didn't buy there.

Another Concern

I'm not crazy about the idea of creating land for use as a park, when there's surely unused space in Dallas. Cool as a bridge over a highway is (noise-cancellation was taken into consideration), it's a big commitment in time, money (total price tag: $110 million) energy, and resources, when any empty lot can become a park. The upside is that the cool factor is bound to get people excited about the project, no small thing.

Maybe for its next park, Dallas will take a cue from Seoul and convert a highway into a park. But for now, this will definitely do.

Follow Alex on Twitter.

The Park Dallas/Video screen capture

Watch the video fly through:

Tags: Cities | Texas | Urban Life | Urban Planning